High Performance Development Standard

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Sustainable and resilient design in new development supports public health and safety, environmental protection and responds to climate change, all of which are priorities within Ottawa’s new Official Plan. Over the last two decades, many municipalities across Ontario have instituted what are commonly referred to as "green development standards" as they have proven to be an effective tool in building capacity within the industry to advance the sustainability and resiliency in new developments.

Using the authority set out under the Planning Act, the City proposes to advance sustainable and resilient design priorities by phasing in minimum performance measures for new development that require site plan and plan of subdivision approval, starting in summer 2022.

The High Performance Development Standard tool has been introduced as part of the new Official Plan and is one of 20 priority projects identified in the Energy Evolution Strategy.

We welcome you to explore this page to learn more about the proposed standard and its measures.


Why is it important?

The High Performance Development Standard is important to set out measures in order to realize the objectives of sustainable and resilient design as set out in the new Official Plan.

Many of the requirements in the High Performance Development Standard are existing, whether part of an existing guideline, by-law or other document. The High Performance Development Standard will allow city staff to prioritize and package all the requirements that support sustainable and resilient design together in one place. It will also assist in reviewing and maintaining the requirements, as well as in tracking and reporting on sustainability objectives.

The High Performance Development Standard Building Energy Efficiency metric is especially important as buildings represent one of the largest sources of Ottawa’s greenhouse gas emissions and contributors to the Climate Emergency. Buildings accounted for 46 per cent of the city’s total community emissions in 2020. As one of the key goals of sustainable and resilient design, new buildings that are designed to be energy efficient and which respond to the City’s emissions reduction targets from the outset will save on costly retrofits in the future.


Information session

December 7
7 pm to 8:30 pm
Zoom

Find out more about the High Performance Development Standard, the proposed requirements and how they will support sustainable and resilient building design in Ottawa.

The session will include a presentation followed by a question and answer period with the project team.

Register today to reserve your spot.


Have your say

The High Performance Development Standard has been developed in consultation with industry and energy experts. The standard works with the processes and authorities available to the City of Ottawa to advance sustainable and resilient design. We would like your feedback on how we have addressed the sustainability and resiliency of new developments with the draft standard. Please provide your input using the feedback form by December 20.


If you would like to receive updates on the High Performance Development Standard and other climate change news subscribe to the climate change e-newsletter.

Sustainable and resilient design in new development supports public health and safety, environmental protection and responds to climate change, all of which are priorities within Ottawa’s new Official Plan. Over the last two decades, many municipalities across Ontario have instituted what are commonly referred to as "green development standards" as they have proven to be an effective tool in building capacity within the industry to advance the sustainability and resiliency in new developments.

Using the authority set out under the Planning Act, the City proposes to advance sustainable and resilient design priorities by phasing in minimum performance measures for new development that require site plan and plan of subdivision approval, starting in summer 2022.

The High Performance Development Standard tool has been introduced as part of the new Official Plan and is one of 20 priority projects identified in the Energy Evolution Strategy.

We welcome you to explore this page to learn more about the proposed standard and its measures.


Why is it important?

The High Performance Development Standard is important to set out measures in order to realize the objectives of sustainable and resilient design as set out in the new Official Plan.

Many of the requirements in the High Performance Development Standard are existing, whether part of an existing guideline, by-law or other document. The High Performance Development Standard will allow city staff to prioritize and package all the requirements that support sustainable and resilient design together in one place. It will also assist in reviewing and maintaining the requirements, as well as in tracking and reporting on sustainability objectives.

The High Performance Development Standard Building Energy Efficiency metric is especially important as buildings represent one of the largest sources of Ottawa’s greenhouse gas emissions and contributors to the Climate Emergency. Buildings accounted for 46 per cent of the city’s total community emissions in 2020. As one of the key goals of sustainable and resilient design, new buildings that are designed to be energy efficient and which respond to the City’s emissions reduction targets from the outset will save on costly retrofits in the future.


Information session

December 7
7 pm to 8:30 pm
Zoom

Find out more about the High Performance Development Standard, the proposed requirements and how they will support sustainable and resilient building design in Ottawa.

The session will include a presentation followed by a question and answer period with the project team.

Register today to reserve your spot.


Have your say

The High Performance Development Standard has been developed in consultation with industry and energy experts. The standard works with the processes and authorities available to the City of Ottawa to advance sustainable and resilient design. We would like your feedback on how we have addressed the sustainability and resiliency of new developments with the draft standard. Please provide your input using the feedback form by December 20.


If you would like to receive updates on the High Performance Development Standard and other climate change news subscribe to the climate change e-newsletter.

  • How will the High Performance Development Standard be applied?

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    The High Performance Development Standard requirements will be applied during the development approvals process, including Site Plan and Draft Plan of Subdivision Applications.

    The High Performance Development Standard will not apply to projects that are only subject to building permits.

    Limitation of the High Performance Development Standard energy efficiency requirements

    It is important to understand while the standard aims to advance ambitious goals related to energy efficiency, it only informs one part of the complex land development process. The realization of these goals will require cooperation from many stakeholders.

    What the High Performance Development Standard can do:

    • Leverage the City planning process to inform early design decisions
    • Take localized context into account

    What the High Performance Development Standard cannot do:

    • Address all energy requirements necessary to meet climate change goals
    • Overrule or replace Ontario Building Code requirements for the purpose of permit applications
    • Address the performance gap between design intent and realized savings

    Role of other stakeholders in addressing climate change in new development

    • Industry - builds capacity and advances climate change goals ahead of legislated mandates
    • Upper levels of government - set the building codes
    • Public - make energy and sustainability a priority in purchase and design decisions
  • The High Performance Standard is a tiered standard

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    supporting image

    The High Performance Development Standard has been developed as a tiered standard. Tier 1, the lowest tier, contains the mandatory requirements. Tier 2 and higher requirements are voluntary, while setting the direction for increasing requirements to be made over time. A tiered standard is helpful to inform and enable industry to prepare and plan for future mandatory requirements.

    Tier 1 will be mandatory for all projects requiring either a site plan or plan of subdivision application.

    Tier 2 or higher will be optional. The metrics of Tier 2 serve several purposes:

    • Incentives to advance the adoption of Tier 2 and higher performance is under development.
    • Tier 2 and 3 will bring awareness and understanding of incremental increases in requirements. Overtime, the minimum performance will move up such that Tier 2 will become mandatory. The image below helps to demonstrate the incremental aspect of a tiered standard.
    • Tier 2 and 3 metrics will also serve to help evaluate projects for City recognition


    At this time, Tier 3 is only referenced in building energy emission targets, which aligns with the 2030 emission reduction targets proposed in Energy Evolution.


  • High Performance Development Standard Requirements - Site Plan

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    What is Site Plan Control?

    Site plan control is a tool that is used by the City to make sure that land development is designed appropriately, safe, functional and minimizes potential impacts on neighbouring properties. It also makes sure that the City’s standards for developing land are respected.

    There are 12 Tier 1 requirements or “metrics” that will apply to Site Plan applications. These can be reviewed in more detail in the High Performance Development Standard Site Plan Metrics document. The purpose of each requirement is described below.


    1.1 Building Energy Efficiency

    The Building Energy Efficiency metric addresses energy efficiency of the project. This will be done through an energy modeling report. Energy modeling during the site plan approval process is an important tool for municipalities and developers to advance higher energy performance. While this does not override the requirements within the Ontario Building Code, it ensures that energy performance is considered early in design decisions such as wall thickness, window size and placement, and utility connections. This requirement will be phased into the High Performance Development Standard. Phase 1 of the High Performance Development Standard will not enforce the energy performance targets set out in the standard. Phase 2 will enforce the minimum performance thresholds set out in the standard.


    1.2 Site Plan Accessibility

    This metric contributes to an inclusive community by ensuring accessibility is considered in the preliminary planning of the site and equivalent access to all users and minimize site accessibility issues for those with mobility devices or challenges. Accessibility requirements also appear in the Ontario Building Code.


    1.3 Fresh Air Intake

    Air pollution from idling cars can pose a significant risk to the health of building occupants, which can’t be easily filtered out through mechanical air filters. Planning safe locations for fresh air intakes will, ensure sufficient distance from pollution or, buffers are incorporated so that pollutants are largely dissipated before ventilation air is brought into the building.


    1.4 Tree Planting

    Trees are an important part of our natural systems supporting natural species, managing heat island impacts, and supporting natural storm water management. To ensure healthy long living trees with large canopies sufficient soil is critical. This metric lays out planting requirements to support long term health and growth of the site’s trees.


    1.5 Plant Species

    Plant selection is important for maintaining long term health of the landscape design and impacts to the greater natural systems. For this reason, the standard lays out requirements for no invasive plant species and targets for a large proportion of drought tolerant plant species. Climate projections suggest that we can expect more frequent summer drought conditions in the coming decades.


    1.6 Exterior Lighting

    Exterior lighting is important to ensure nighttime safety of the site but the light pollution it causes can have negative effects on neighbouring residents, and local natural species. Nocturnal animals and migratory birds are particularly vulnerable to these impacts. Minimizing light pollution through Dark SkyTM compliant fixtures helps to mitigate these impacts.


    1.7 Bird Safe Design

    Thoughtful design of windows particularly in high priority areas can help prevent fatal collisions of birds with buildings.


    1.8 Sustainable Roofing

    As buildings take up more and more of the available space on property, rooftops become increasingly important component of site design. There are lots of opportunities to address sustainable design on the roof top. Including gardens or green roofs, reflective roofing, and solar power generation. This metric directs projects to incorporate one or a combination of these strategies.


    1.9 Cool Landscape and Paving

    Although Ottawa is a heating dominant climate, summertime impacts to human health are becoming an increasing concern. The urban heat island effect can increase the urban temperature several degrees above the natural rural temperature. This increase in temperature is largely due to greater paved area in the urban environment. Increasing the landscaped area, increasing shade or incorporating reflective paving can all help to reduce the urban heat island.


    1.10 Common Area Waste Storage

    For the city to reach its waste diversion targets, individual actions are critical. Multi unit residential buildings rely on common area waste storage to enable residents to correctly sort their waste streams. Good design of the spaces with sufficient area and equal access helps to empower residents to maximize their waste diversion. No new requirements are proposed at this time, however, a reference to the Zoning By-law has been included in the High Performance Development Standard.


    1.11 Electric Vehicle Parking

    Requirements will ensure that infrastructure is available for electric vehicle charging to meet future demands. No new requirements are proposed at this time, however, a reference to the Zoning By-law has been included in the High Performance Development Standard to point to electric vehicle requirements in zoning. This will come into force when requirements are brought into effect as part of the new Zoning By-law Official Plan conformity exercise.


    1.12 Bike Parking

    Requirements will ensure that the infrastructure is available for bike parking to meet current and future demands. No new requirements are proposed at this time, however, a reference to the Zoning By-law has been included in the High Performance Development Standard to point to bike parking in zoning.

  • High Performance Development Standard Requirements for Draft Plan of Subdivision

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    A subdivision is land that has been divided into multiple lots for the purpose of development. These lots may be developed individually, or as a group. They may be used for a range of uses such as residential, commercial or institutional lots depending on the designation of the land in the Official Plan and Zoning By-law. The purpose of a draft plan of subdivision is to:

    • develop land in an orderly manner by making sure that the proper infrastructure and municipal services will be in place, if they are not already
    • manage the effect of development of the proposed subdivision on matters of provincial interest

    There are 3 Tier 1 requirements or “metrics” that will apply to Plan of Subdivision applications. These can be reviewed in more detail in the High Performance Development Standard Plan of Subdivision Metrics document.

    1.1 Community Energy Plan

    The Community Energy Plan ensures communities plan for the infrastructure necessary to move toward zero emissions and enables solutions that are only available if planned on community scale. For example, district energy is most efficient and cost effective when accounted for along with the other utility plans. Another example is that currently there are limitations on the electrical grid infrastructure’s capacity to connect to local renewable energy sources. This limits the number of net zero homes which may be constructed in any given area.


    1.2 Trees

    Trees are an important part of our natural systems supporting natural species, managing heat island impacts, and supporting natural storm water management. To ensure healthy long living trees with large canopies, sufficient soil is critical. The standard lays out the planting requirements to support long term health and growth of the site’s trees.


    1.3 Planting

    Climate projections suggest that we can expect more frequent summertime drought conditions in the coming decades. Plant selection is important for maintaining the long term health of greenspace set out in landscape design and address impacts to the larger natural heritage system. For this reason, the standard restricts invasive species and requires a large proportion of drought tolerant species.

Page last updated: 07 December 2021, 18:56